I'm designing a self-service application for a tax office. The main screen looks like this:
I'm considering automatically reordering/hiding tiles based on certain conditions.
For example: when direct debit is requested, its tile can be moved to the bottom right since requesting direct debit happens way more often than cancelling it.
Another example: when there is an outstanding amount to be paid, it should be displayed in the top left corner so it grabs the attention. If there is nothing to pay, the tile should not be shown at all.
I've been reading about spatial memory lately, which means that users often try to find things by remembering their location, instead of their name. This is especially true for the top and bottom items, according to Jenifer Tidwell in her book 'Designing Interactions'. Automatically reordering items might disrupt the user's spatial memory.
On the other hand, why 'bother' users with page elements that are not relevant? In fact, moving the most important items to the top left could be perceived as considerate.
Each tile uses a distinct colour for the action buttons, so the user might remember the colour that is associated with a certain tile. However, on mobile the tiles are collapsed and displayed as an accordion view to make optimal use of the limited screen real estate; no colours will be displayed, so users will have to read the labels.
Is automatically reordering in this instance a sensible thing to do, or should it be avoided? Any thoughts/experiences/guidelines?